Over the last week, Ohio State has made moves in regards to their 2024 recruiting class by offering a new quarterback. The Buckeyes had the commitment of No. 1 overall player and quarterback Dylan Raiola until Dec. 17. His de-commitment was a huge loss, and was eerily similar to the abrupt ending to the Quinn Ewers-era at Ohio State, who came in with the same recruiting pedigree.
The Ewers decision led to a scramble to find a 2022 quarterback. Devin Brown ended up at Ohio State. After some early commitments fell through in the 2023 class, the Buckeye staff zeroed in on Lincoln Kienholz. Now the 2024 class is fully in the spotlight, and the Buckeyes are without a quarterback commitment just yet.
With Ryan Day, there are no questions about his ability to turn talented quarterbacks into first round NFL draft picks. Ohio State is now looking across the country for the next player in the line of succession. Last offseason, I wrote about the blueprint of Day’s quarterbacks, and how they all fit the same physical profile.
The Buckeyes’ most recent offer fits this profile, and could be the next cornerstone to the 2024 class: five-star Alabama commit, Julian Sayin (Carlsbad High School, CA).
Grateful to receive an offer from Ohio State University. pic.twitter.com/Mup4y4TsUm— Julian Sayin (@juliansayin2) January 18, 2023
Comparing the dramatics of recent Quarterback Recruitments
Going back to the recruitment of C.J. Stroud, this is where the volatility of recruiting the position became evident. The Buckeyes long had a commitment from Jack Miller, but after a strong showing in camps as well as on the field, Stroud earned an offer. He accepted, with the rest now being history. Stroud was the first late offer and eleventh hour commitment for Ryan Day’s quarterback room.
This set the tone for the lack of fear needed in regards to signing up for a room where every player will be coming from the same recruiting background. There is a competitive edge needed, and Kyle McCord was next. McCord committed over a year before he signed, and was a cornerstone piece of the 2021 class. Looking back, this was the least dramatic quarterback recruitment the Buckeyes have had recently, and if he starts, one of the rare modern stories of a quarterback sticking it out.
After McCord, the drama begins. Quinn Ewers commits and reclassifies. After less than six months in the program, he uproots himself and leaves. There is no ill-will involved, but arguably one of the more tumultuous situations. With the re-classification, the need for a 2022 quarterback appeared, and yes this is just as confusing looking back at it all.
In comes Devin Brown, who was committed to USC, at the wire again with the visit, offer, and commitment. The same story followed the next time around. Dylan Raiola commits to Ohio State and becomes an immediate leader for the 2024 class. There was still a hole in 2023 class, and the Buckeyes zeroed in on Lincoln Kienholz.
Kienholz was committed to Washington. He still chose to run into a room with two top-50 recruits competing to start, and the No. 1 player in the country already committed – well, shortly committed.
The point of all this is to show that quarterback recruiting is different. There is no direct path, and that is why 2024 is so interesting. Losing a player the caliber of Raiola is a huge loss, but that won’t stop the Ohio State staff from going after the quarterbacks they want.
That is where Sayin comes in. Over the weekend, I took in the Battle Miami 7-on-7 quarterback, and the one takeaway was the kid from Carlsbad might be the best QB in the country. An elite tournament to me feels like Stroud’s rise at the Elite 11 or Brown’s junior year camp circuit, and the Buckeyes had significantly less time than they do now to land a quarterback.
Does Sayin fit the Ryan Day profile for a quarterback recruit?
Looking at the recruiting profiles of all of the recent quarterback recruits and commitments, there is definitely a physical profile Ryan Day looks for. The table below shows all the evidence needed about a profile, and the funny part is Raiola is the only outlier in terms of size.
Sayin comes in at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, which falls close to the average, and similarly with Stroud, Miller, and Brown. There will be an additional 15-20 pounds added at the next level.
Ohio State Quarterback Recruit Size
|Lincoln Kienholz||6'1.5"||181 LB|
|Dylan Raiola||6'3"||225 LB|
|Devin Brown||6'2.5"||196 LB|
|Quinn Ewers||6'3"||206 LB|
|Kyle McCord||6'3"||215 LB|
|C.J. Stroud||6'2.5"||194 LB|
|Jack Miller||6'4"||210 LB|
The size profile might be more coincidental than anything, but that is definitely a reason Ohio State has zeroed in on the southern California quarterback. Looking at a few clips from the last three QB signees at Ohio State show the skillset as well. There is a need for athleticism, layering throws, and elite ball placement for the high school level.
In this first clip, you see Sayin on a naked rollout with a single route concept to the play side. This off-platform throw is delivered with enough zip to get there in a hurry, and enough touch to fall perfectly into the hands of the receiver on the sideline.
Comparing this to the clip below, McCord has to escape, but ends up in a similar off-platform throwing situation. He doesn’t have to deliver the ball with the same accuracy, but he finds his receiver with touch on the throw.
The skillset doesn’t end there. Ohio State quarterbacks under Day have to be able to drop the ball into a basket from the pocket. There was a feeling with Stroud at times where he had a string on the football, and was able to just land the ball in the hands of the receivers.
In this next clip, we see Sayin climb the pocket and hit the post route in stride. This is a throw we’ve seen Stroud make time-and-time again. The level of touch needed to land the ball in the hands comfortably is a skill not all quarterbacks possess.
Dropping the ball in the basket is also apparent in the clip below with Kienholz. On the throw, Kienholz has a defender trailing and a safety closing in. He drops the ball right between them. The deep ball is not a trait that every high level QB possesses consistently, but it is absolutely a bare minimum requirement in the Ohio State quarterback room.
Last play set we’re going to compare shows a drill that quarterback coaches love with a rail shot throw. Brown does not do the exact rail shot in his play, but there is a laser beam over a defender for a touchdown. Sayin has a legitimate rail shot throw, beating the defender before he can get back in the play with a throw with a lot of pace.
Both throws show the arm strength, suddenness, and quick releases that Day looks for.
Sayin matches the physical and skill profile that Ryan Day looks for in his quarterback recruits. The Alabama commit is still committed, so this will be a battle for the Buckeyes if they truly are to gain the commitment of Sayin. But once I turned the tape on, I could not stop seeing the similarities of the Carlsbad starter and the guys we’ve seen in Ohio State’s room.
Looking at the other QBs in the 2024 class, there are plenty of talented players across the country, but not many fit the profile as well as Sayin does. This to me means that Ohio State has fully squared in on their target, and it is going to be another showdown between Alabama and Ohio State.
The importance of having a quarterback in 2024
Getting to the importance of having a 2024 quarterback starts with depth. In the era of the transfer portal and NIL, keeping together any position group room is becoming more challenging on a yearly basis. Players want to reap their rewards, and the Buckeyes are fortunate to have a room as strong as they do currently from a recruiting rankings standpoint.
Keeping two top-100 players at the position is not easy, and if Devin Brown wins the job the assumption is the room will likely get thinner. That is why Ohio State took a 2023 commit even though they already had a commitment from one of the best players at the position in the 2024 class.
Going back to the class with Jack Miller and C.J. Stroud, the depth was thin, so Day added another quarterback. There is no waiting in recruiting, and the necessity of depth is still real, even if player mobility has changed how that looks.
And the final reason of importance is something Day answered very candidly last offseason. What if you miss on a guy? There has been no evidence of that so far, but how different does Ohio State football look if Day doesn’t bring Stroud in.
The Buckeyes have a long ways to go until Signing Day, and recruiting a quarterback won’t stop until then. Will the Buckeyes land Saying? I’m not entirely sure, but it shows Ohio State always has a back up plan at the most important position.
Moving down to the micro level of this recent offer and what it means for the Buckeyes, Day found a quarterback in 2024 that fits the exact profile he looks for. They will do everything they can, and with Alabama having some coaching turnover on the offensive staff with Bill O’Brien leaving, the next hire will have a huge impact on where this recruitment goes.
The Buckeyes are building their 2024 class, and the quarterback tends to always be the center piece. Ohio State has started looking and have made their first move. Now we continue to wait and find out who is next in the line of Ryan Day quarterback recruits.